Headway Suffolk

Ipswich Hub 01473 712225

Bury Hub 01284 702535

Our Summer Newsletter is here!

Headway Suffolk’s Summer Newsletter is here in time for August.

Inside you’ll find details of our new plans for satellite rehab hubs across the county; why our first speaker for next year’s Conference, F1 presenter Jennie Gow, is not to be missed as she shares her story of having a stroke; our crowdfunding appeal for our new ‘Wood and Work Experience’ social enterprise project.

There’s also details of our upcoming events – Summer Craft & Fete on 5 August and AGM & Client Prize Giving on 18 September, plus information of a new Understanding Brain Injury Programme in September and October, updates on Headway Suffolk’s support services and more!

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Join us – Summer Ctaft Market & Fete

Join Headway Suffolk for our Summer Craft Market & Fete!

It takes place on Saturday 5 August from 10am – 4pm at Kesgrave Community Centre, Twelve Acre Approach, Kesgrave IP5 1JF.

With free entrance, there will be:

Local craft & games – Make Your Own Sand Art – Rubber Duck Hunt – Hamper Draw – And Other Craft Games – A Wonderful Selection of Handmade Crafts & Gifts & Products – Delicious Cakes & Treats.

If you would like to be part of the day as a local crafter or produce vendor, contact [email protected].

BBC F1 presenter Jennie Gow to talk of stroke at Headway Conference


Neurology charity Headway Suffolk is delighted to announce that BBC Formula 1 presenter Jennie Gow will be a keynote speaker at Headway Suffolk’s annual conference in 2024.

Jennie is one the most recognisable faces in F1 and an integral part in the BBC’s coverage. The broadcaster also featured heavily in the production of season three of Netflix’s hit F1 documentary Drive to Survive and played a big role in its success.

In early January the journalist revealed she had suffered a serious stroke at the age of 45 and has spent the months since learning to walk and, more significantly, to talk again.

To mark stroke awareness month in May, Jennie shared her experiences on The One Show, BBC Breakfast and BBC 5 Live.

 “Up until December my life was travelling the world as a sports presenter and journalist but then my life changed dramatically,” said the presenter.

“Just after Christmas I got sick. It wasn’t Covid but I had a terrible cough. I felt that I was instantaneously drunk. My husband Jamie found me collapsed in the bathroom. I had no warning. Even now, doctors say if somebody had looked at me half an hour before I had my stroke they wouldn’t have known.”


The majority of strokes are caused by a blockage in a blood vessel that supplies the brain.

Jennie’s stroke was caused by a blood clot in the carotid artery in the neck, a tear in the blood vessel due to coughing and a viral infection she had at the time. It is extremely rare, but not unknown, for a viral cough to cause a stroke.

Jennie had the clot removed but it had already damaged part of the brain associated with speech.

Jennie continued: “It’s hard to get the words out sometimes, which is annoying for someone who never normally got lost for words. I’ve done so many hours of work with speech and language therapy because of how much I want to speak again properly.

“I still feel numb down my right side. My sense of taste has gone and I get very tired but my voice is getting better.

“I am training my brain to read and write again. My daughter (Isabel, six) is probably ahead of me with that. There’s a lot that goes into rehab and it takes hours every day. I’m lucky I’m able to walk and move around perfectly well but it’s just my brain and my speech I have to work on.

“I am determined to come back as strong as ever and I want to share my experiences to try and shine a light on stroke survivors.”

Headway Suffolk’s ninth annual Conference will take place on Wednesday 15 May 2024 at Kesgrave Conference and Community Centre. More speakers will be announced in due course.

The Conference has proved popular over the years with health professionals and the public alike, with past speakers including Prof Stephen Hawking and Chris Tarrant.

New Understanding Brain Injury Programmes

Headway Suffolk has three new Understanding Brain Injury Programmes coming up over the next few months for adults living with a brain injury or a neurological condition.

The aim of the programmes is to help you understand and manage the effects of your injury or condition on your daily routines.

It will also provide you with an opportunity to meet others who have had similar experiences.

Cost is £60 for the full programme or free to existing Headway Suffolk clients.

The programmes are for the duration of six weeks and take place on either a Monday or a Tuesday morning.

For full details of each course, go to our courses page.

New Brainy Injury Rehab Hubs

Outstanding-rated Headway Suffolk is set to open eight brain injury rehab hubs across the county in Aldeburgh, Eye, Framlingham, Hadleigh, Haverhill, Leiston, Newmarket and Stowmarket.

The new outreach groups will be suitable for adults living with brain injury or neurological conditions who want to meet with others in a safe and stimulating environment, supported by the charity’s qualified and dedicated staff.

The hubs will include a range of activities designed to help each individual with their rehabilitation needs, as well as providing peace of mind for family carers who can leave their loved ones in safe care while they gain some valuable respite.

Our CEO Helen Fairweather spoke to BBC Radio Suffolk about the new outreach hubs: “We had successful satellite hubs before Covid, which were small groups of 8-10, and they really helped people to progress and we were sad we had to close them because of the pandemic.

“Some of them were based in community hospitals, which was obviously a place we couldn’t go to during lockdown, so now is the right time to reopen them to look at what else we can do to help people.

“We want to prevent people having to travel to us in our main hubs in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds because that’s problematic for people as they can lose their driving licence after a brain injury and can’t get to us so we want to go to them.

“We want to start off by offering an Understanding Brain Injury course in those locations, which will look at what the brain does, what happens when it goes wrong and how to make a recovery.

“After that course we are hoping to open them up as a day hub so we can help them with their rehabilitation and their care and support.

“The most important thing now is for people to come forward if they need our help or would like to find out more about these hubs or know anyone else who might benefit from them, so we’d like to hear from people living with a brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions or family carers who could do with a break themselves whilst we look after their loved ones.

“As soon as we have got 5-6 people in each location we can then take it forward, make sure we have the funding in place and find the venues, but we can’t really do anything until we have people who have contacted us and say they need our help.

“There’s lots of people out there who need our help but one of the things that happened during Covid was that a lot of day centres closed so there’s a gap now in the service and we hope people who used to go to them services contact us.”

Contact us on 01473 712225 or email [email protected].


Headway Suffolk, which has rehab hubs in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, is seeking sponsorship for the rehab hubs as well as encouraging new referrals to each new hub.

Helen Fairweather, CEO of Headway Suffolk: ““We are financially stable but are always looking for more funding and we are applying to funding trusts and other people to help us with that.”

All enquiries should be made by email to [email protected].

About Headway Suffolk

Headway Suffolk is a registered charity that supports adults living with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions through an extensive range of rehabilitation, therapy and care services.

In September 2022, it was rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, with Louise Broddle, CQC head of adult social care inspection, saying “Headway Suffolk is clearly an important part of the community and other services can look to it as an example of how to deliver outstanding care and support.”

Helen Fairweather said: “Our hubs are a bespoke service, so we look at what the individual wants to achieve, what the problems are, what they were doing before their injury and then we put together a list of activities that they want to join in. It could be IT, music, drama, swimming, the gym, bowling, anything that will stimulate the person cognitively and physically to stimulate the brain.”

Thank you for Conference support

Headway Suffolk would like to thank everyone for attending our eighth Conference and making it another great success! We hope you enjoyed it and found it informative.

We’d also like to pay a  big thank you to our valued sponsors for making the event possible:

➡️ Ellisons Solicitors
➡️ Hodge Jones & Allen
➡️ Slater and Gordon Lawyers – UK

A special thank you also to all of our keynote speakers and their fascinating presentations.

And thanks to all our trade stands and Kesgrave Community and Conference Centre for hosting us

Save the date

2024’s event will be provisionally on May 15th.

Every 90 Seconds – ABI Week

Every 90 seconds, someone in the UK is admitted to hospital with a brain injury – that’s a staggering 350,000 people per year.

Headway’s Action for Brain Injury Week is an annual campaign designed to raise awareness and understanding of acquired brain injury (ABI) and to help give survivors and their loved ones a voice.

This year’s ABI Week campaign entitled Every 90 Seconds, takes place from May 15-21 and will highlight how common brain injuries are and how they can affect any of us at any time.

Brain injuries can have many causes including strokes, tumours, falls, road traffic collisions, assaults, and concussions and can have life-long consequences for survivors and their loved ones.

Throughout ABI Week, Headway will share real-life stories from brain injury survivors and their partners, talking candidly about brain injury and how Headway is helping them to rebuild their lives.

During the campaign, we hope people will take a second to learn more about brain injury through powerful stories.

We want people to see how they can support our work to rebuild meaningful lives and to take a second to consider donating their time volunteering with Headway or simply to share our message.”

Take a second to find out more, and if you can, please get involved by donating, volunteering, or simply raising awareness of our services.

Project to help clients improve financial wellbeing

Headway Suffolk is launching a project to help our clients learn important life skills to improve their financial independence and wellbeing during the cost of living crisis.

Clients will learn skills on how to cook nutritious meals and reduce reliance on ready meals.

They will be supported to go shopping, learn how to make informed choices when buying food, develop budgeting skills and save money, how to reduce travel costs and to save energy at home.

The project will empower clients by learning skills on how small changes in their lives can make a positive impact.

This will be:


Annual Conference speakers line up

Neurology charity Headway Suffolk will host its eighth annual Conference in less than three weeks on Wednesday 17 May at Kesgrave Conference Centre.

Headway Suffolk’s flagship event has proved popular over the years with health professionals and the public alike, with past speakers including Prof Stephen Hawking and Chris Tarrant.

This year promises to be another not to be missed with a full day of keynote speakers giving a range of presentations around the theme living positively with a disability.

Keynote Speakers Line-Up:

Baroness Murphy of Aldgate is Vice-President at the Alzheimer’s Society and will give a presentation on the challenges of dementia care and what can be done by government and other organisations.

She trained as a psychiatrist and became the Foundation Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of London and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Dr Tom Adams is Neuro Rehab Lead at Sleep Unlimited, the largest company of sleep experts in the UK, and he will give a presentation on how to get a good night’s sleep.

He is a clinical psychologist with particular interests in neuropsychology (the study of interaction between brain and behaviour) and working with people with cognitive impairments.

Dr Charlotte Brierley is a neurologist who runs the neuromuscular clinic at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and a consultant neurologist at West Suffolk Hospital.

Dr Brierley also spent three years at the Brain Repair Centre in Cambridge, where she gained her PhD in research on treatment strategies for multiple sclerosis. She returns to the conference to give a presentation on ‘what is a headache?’

Amanda Cousins is Operation Lead at the Norfolk and Waveney Acquired Brain Injury Network and a freelance consultant in neurological rehabilitation, community therapy and recovery support models.

An Occupational Therapist by clinical background, Amanda has over 35 years of experience within the NHS in operational management, strategic planning and commissioning. She will present on brain injury rehabilitation both regionally and nationally.

Dr Muhibbur Chowdhury has been a stroke consultant at Ipswich Hospital for over ten years, working out of Shotley Ward, where hyper-acute and acute stroke services are provided.

Dr Chowdhury returns to the conference and will present on vision after a stroke.

Delegates will also hear from: Roger Blake (RNLD), Learning Disability and Autism Specialist Nurse; DM Orthotics, world-leading provider of medical rehabilitation products;, Susan Smith, family carer; and Helen Fairweather, CEO of Headway Suffolk.

Headway Suffolk would like to thank Eliisons Solicitors, Hodge Jones & Allen and Slater and Gordon for their sponsorship of the Conference.

If you have any queries or wish to order tickets by telephone or email, please contact Helen Fairweather on 01473 712225 or email [email protected].

Vote Headway to help us win Dobbies gardening products

Headway Suffolk has been shortlisted in the Helping Your Community Grow campaign by Dobbies to win plants, gardening products and support from the garden centre experts.

But we need your support to vote to win this for our Bury St Edmunds Hub!

It’s very easy to vote in 3 steps:

  • Select store as Bury St Edmunds
  • Click Headway Suffolk and submit!